We're so excited to be giving away a copy of Corey Mintz's new book "How to Host a Dinner Party" as part of our 1000th Member Celebrations thanks to the kind folks at House of Anansi! Corey was a speaker at FBC2013 and shared his publishing journey with attendees who were all very excited to see and hear him. Corey was thrilled to have an  impromptu book signing at FBC2013 as well!

How to Host a Dinner Party cover

We were happy to have Corey write a post on his top 5 tips for hosting a dinner party and now, for a chance to win a copy of the book, we'd like to hear yours!

How to enter:

1. Leave a comment on this post with your best tip for hosting a dinner party!

Eligibility and contest rules

  • Open to FBC members only (including international members!)
  • No purchase of any product necessary for entry.
  • Winner will be chosen randomly (using www.random.org) from all qualified entries on Sunday June 16th 2013 after 9pm EST.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday June 17th 2013.

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My tip is to be prepared and prep as much as possible. Make sure there is enough time for you to sit with your guests and enjoy the evening too.

Marlene Cornelis

My tip is to do whatever you need to do (be prepared, don’t make it all about the food, etc) to be calm and enjoy yourself at your dinner party. Your guests can’t have a good time if the host is stressed out!


Do as much food prep as you can before hand. Also, have your serving dishes and platters out and ready so you’re not hunting around at the last moment.

Maureen Reynolds

My tip is to have lots of white catering plates on hand, and mix it up with lots of colorful cloth napkins. I never go for a matchy, matchy table theme. I prefer a casual dinner party and having white plates allows me to mix match everything else on the table and it still looks pulled together.


Make a list of what foods you want to make, keeping everyone’s likes in mind.
Prepare a grocery list of what to buy ahead of time by weeks or days before.
Begin to prepare what items you will make one day ahead, two days ahead, on the day needed. This helps you get organized without leaving you flustered

Tunazzina Abedin

When you invite your guests, ask them about food restrictions so that you are not guessing at what to make or worse, not have food that your guest can have.


People will always ask what they can bring because most don’t like to come empty handed. The answer to this depends on what you’re cooking and who’s asking. More specifically:

-Never make your guests feel like they have to bring anything. It’s not a potluck, unless it is.
-Always have an answer declining their request (“just yourselves”/”witty conversation”/”just that story about that time you wrestled a grizzly bear”).
-Always have an answer to what they can bring if they insist. For example, a bottle of wine, flowers, a salad, a condiment- especially if it’s the super-awesome hot sauce (or other condiment) they make.
-If they’re close friends you CAN ask them to bring what you don’t have. You can even plan the party so that instead of rushing around to buy everything you ask your best friend to bring a side or dessert. One of my best friends has regular dinner parties. Sometimes he’ll specifically ask me to bring a side, then I’ll bring some beer or wine (not asked for, so more of a host gift) along with it.

Sarah Reynolds

My tip is to have as much food prepared ahead of time as possible. Don’t spend your night slaving in the kitchen while your friends are having fun without you.

Donald McKenzie

Give yourself plenty of time to prepare the food so that you are not constantly having to excuse yourself from the table, and can spend as much time with your guests as possible.

Shari Johnston

The one rule I always follow is, don’t worry about cleaning up. Get stuff out of the way of your guests, put leftovers in the fridge, enjoy the rest of the night and deal with everything else in the morning. When people come here for dinner, they’re often here until midnight or later so I couldn’t be bothered staying up and doing dishes after they leave!

Lisa MacDougall

When hosting a diverse group of guests, remember to introduce each guest properly when they arrive. If your dinner party is a fairly large group of guests, put some thought beforehand into the people you think have something in common to discuss and arrange to get them together via introductions or seating arrangements. An excellent host is always working to make guests feel comfortable!

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